A line-by-line translation

Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 2, Scene 4

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Enter the ARCHBISHOP of York, the young duke of YORK, QUEEN ELIZABETH, and the old DUCHESS of York

ARCHBISHOP

Last night, I hear, they lay at Stony Stratford,And at Northampton they do rest tonight.Tomorrow or next day they will be here.

ARCHBISHOP

I hear that last night they slept at Stony Stratford, and tonight they'll rest in Northampton. Tomorrow or the next day they'll be here.

DUCHESS

I long with all my heart to see the prince. I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.

DUCHESS

I long with all my heart to see the prince. I hope he's grown a lot since the last time I saw him.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

But I hear no; they say my son of YorkHas almost overta'en him in his growth.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

I heard he hasn't though. They say that my son of York has almost passed him in height.

YORK

Ay, mother, but I would not have it so.

YORK

Yes, Mother, but I wish it weren't so.

DUCHESS

Why, my young cousin? It is good to grow.

DUCHESS

Why, my child? It is good to grow.

YORK

Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper, My uncle Rivers talked how I did grow More than my brother: “Ay,” quoth my uncle Gloucester, “Small herbs have grace; great weeds do grow apace.” And since, methinks I would not grow so fast Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.

YORK

Grandmother, one night while we were eating dinner, my uncle Rivers mentioned that I had grown more than my brother. "Yes," said my uncle Richard, "Small herbs grow with grace, while big weeds grow quickly." And since then, I've wished that I wouldn't grow so fast, because sweet flowers are slow, and weeds are hasty.

DUCHESS

Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold In him that did object the same to thee! He was the wretched’st thing when he was young, So long a-growing and so leisurely, That if this rule were true, he should be gracious.

DUCHESS

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YORK

And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.

YORK

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DUCHESS

I hope he is, but yet let mothers doubt.

DUCHESS

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YORK

Now, by my troth, if I had been remembered,I could have given my uncle’s grace a flout To touch his growth nearer than he touched mine.

YORK

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DUCHESS

How, my pretty York? I prithee let me hear it.

DUCHESS

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YORK

Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old. 'Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth. Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.

YORK

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DUCHESS

I prithee, pretty York, who told thee this?

DUCHESS

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YORK

Grandam, his nurse.

YORK

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DUCHESS

His nurse? Why, she was dead ere thou wast born.

DUCHESS

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YORK

If ’twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

YORK

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

A parlous boy! Go to, you are too shrewd.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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DUCHESS

Good madam, be not angry with the child.

DUCHESS

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Pitchers have ears.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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Enter a MESSENGER

ARCHBISHOP

Here comes a messenger. —What news?

ARCHBISHOP

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MESSENGER

Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.

MESSENGER

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

How doth the prince?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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MESSENGER

Well, madam, and in health.

MESSENGER

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DUCHESS

What is thy news then?

DUCHESS

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MESSENGER

Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,And, with them, Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.

MESSENGER

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DUCHESS

Who hath committed them?

DUCHESS

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MESSENGER

The mighty dukes, Gloucester and Buckingham.

MESSENGER

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ARCHBISHOP

For what offence?

ARCHBISHOP

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MESSENGER

The sum of all I can, I have disclosed.Why, or for what, the nobles were committedIs all unknown to me, my gracious lord.

MESSENGER

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Ay me! I see the ruin of my house. The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind. Insulting tyranny begins to jut Upon the innocent and aweless throne. Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre. I see, as in a map, the end of all.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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DUCHESS

Accursèd and unquiet wrangling days, How many of you have mine eyes beheld? My husband lost his life to get the crown, And often up and down my sons were tossed For me to joy, and weep, their gain and loss. And being seated, and domestic broils Clean overblown, themselves the conquerors Make war upon themselves, brother to brother, Blood to blood, self against self. O, preposterous And frantic outrage, end thy damnèd spleen, Or let me die, to look on death no more.

DUCHESS

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

[to YORK] Come, come, my boy. We will to sanctuary.Madam, farewell.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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DUCHESS

Stay, I will go with you.

DUCHESS

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

You have no cause.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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ARCHBISHOP

[to QUEEN ELIZABETH] My gracious lady, go, And thither bear your treasure and your goods. For my part, I’ll resign unto your Grace The seal I keep; and so betide to me As well I tender you and all of yours. Go. I’ll conduct you to the sanctuary.

ARCHBISHOP

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Exeunt

Richard iii
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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.